Hanging Judge | Referees on different assignments – is there a difference in performance levels?

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Errol Sweeney
Errol Sweeney


There’s an old saying that goes: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

In simple terms, it means that not everyone is going to agree on a particular issue.

We all have our opinions on whatever topics we want to discuss, and that’s what makes us humans unique.

However, there is also a thing called consistency. Again, in simple terms, it’s where an effort is made to achieve some level of agreement on what is right or wrong. Or, as I like to say, correct or incorrect.

In my opinion, the issue of consistency among match officials at all levels of football, but particularly at international level, is in need of an overhaul.

We witness it in nearly every game when one referee will give a free kick for a particular foul, while for the same foul a different ref might disagree.

READ: Hanging Judge | The ABCs of becoming a great match official

Now, I am aware of law 5 – the referee – that states “in the opinion of the referee”. That’s what makes the issue or incident subjective in the eye or mind of the beholder, or, in this case, the referee on the day.

It’s difficult to recreate a particular scenario and get consensus on it. Why? Because while we might have the same incident, not all referees will be in the same position.

Some might be 5m away, while others might be 10m or more away.

Then there’s the possibility, that some referees might be behind the incident, while others might be at the side or in front.

See the problem?

I do feel, however, that the English referees are particularly guilty when it comes to dealing with what is currently, in my opinion, endemic in the game.

One of the referee’s duties or responsibilities is to the players under his/her charge

For example, the irritating and annoying cheating and diving by players at all levels. What’s also irritating is the apparent double standard by some referees. By that, I mean they appear to have a particular performance for home/domestic games, and a completely different one for international matches.

I recently watched English referees Anthony Taylor and Michael Oliver at the Euro 2020 Championship and they were completely different from when they are officiating in the English Premiership.

Their performances were, in my opinion, like chalk and cheese.

To date, and at the time of writing, they have delivered super performances in the games they have been assigned to – and long many it continue. But will it?

One of the referee’s duties or responsibilities is to the players under his/her charge. And Taylor came out smelling like roses.

His swift action and handling of the Christen Eriksen incident when the Danish midfielder suffered a cardiac arrest on the field was top class. In fact, Taylor received wide praise for his prompt action, which resulted in Eriksen being brought back to life after doctors said his heart had stopped.

The obvious question to be asked is, why? Why do the referees do that? How can there be one performance for this tournament and not for the domestic games? I guess only they can answer that.

Please stay safe and well out there. This Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet. Protect yourselves, your families and others by observing all medical and scientific advice. No one is safe until everyone is safe.

Happy whistling!


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